Print studios

Oh! It’s been absolutely ages… Time flew and condensed and dragged and became a thing of wonder. I realise I’ve not posted anything at all for over a year! But I’m super happy to announce that the Victoria and Albert Museum have made a short film about my linocut and monoprint process, and it captures the dreamy mood of creativity very well.

Filmmaker Marissa Keating and cameraman Michael Jones spent a lovely morning in my house, filming me and interviewing me about my process.

They tiptoed around and drank my tea (Iron Goddess of Mercy, no less) and made me feel calm and at ease. Then we walked to the studio, East London Printmakers, to film more printing action using the big beautiful cast iron presses there.

The music was composed especially for the film by Steve Baker (, who was inspired by my image of Cassiopeia (the girl looking up at the night sky), which I would love to make into an animation… one day… when I find a spare moment…!

I felt very privileged to watch music being composed, in real time, but I guess it’s a similar alchmical mystery that happens when images are created too.

Anyway, to watch the film, please visit

In June, I was awarded the Atelier Presse Papier Prize at the Biennial Internationale d’Estampe Contemporaine de Trois-Rivières (BIECTR 2017) for my Orchis print series. The prize was a solo show in their gallery, and a residency in the print studio for two weeks, so I packed my bags and flew out to Canada.


Trois-Rivières is a small town which has been hosting this amazing print biennial for the past 20 years. As the town is so small, the print biennial takes over the museums, library, galleries, old train station and cafés, with a suggested walking tour of the whole show that takes up a good afternoon.


Catherine Gillet (Honorable Mention), Sabine Delahaut (Grand Prize winner) and yours truly.

There was a grand opening and some satellite events in Montreal and the University of Quebec, so my residency started off very social, with lots of old and new friends in town. These included Annie Bissett, Kikie Crêvecoeur, Heather Huston and many more local artists such as Guy Langevin, Jo-Ann Lanneville, Frédérique Guichard and Valérie Guimond.


I enjoyed getting to know the other artists better, particularly as one afternoon we went from gallery to gallery talking to each other about our work, both in terms of technique and ideas. Sabine Delahaut was the grand prize winner and I loved her print narrative and approach. Other artists who gave talks included Heather Huston, Valentin Capony, Catherine Gillet and Valerie Geard.


When putting the works together for the show, I decided to gather them under the broad term Seventh Sense. I was thinking about how we know what it is like to touch and taste, see and hear. But what of the other senses in our repertoire, the ones that speak of how we place our body in space, or ones that determine how we hope, those that convey indescribable emotions? For me, these senses fall into the realm of the seventh sense and beyond.


Packing a show for a mysterious space is hard, but in the end the work fit the gallery surprisingly well.


On the two long  walls there were big screenprints made as a triptych and a diptych from the Dance series and Orchis series.


In the alcove I put two photos about leaning and flight that were taken in China, exploring the boundary of real and unreal. In the window there were three artist books from the Orchis Book series.



Finally, I showed my animation Shadow Boy and Shadow Girl, alongside an inkjet print of some of the frames of the animation that were scanned and printed life size.


The works in the show used different techniques, but explored similar themes of dance, and transformation.


During the residency, I found myself going for a walk and a swim every day, as Trois-Rivières has a very amazing outdoor unheated pool that dates from the 30s.


Piscine et pataugeoire du parc de l’Exposition

The sky was continually cloudy, with flashes of sunshine and a lot of rain. I’m planning work for a new book about that experience, now that I am back home.


I completed some prints from the Diary series which I had started in China, and looked at the clouds every day.



The Print studio and gallery, Atelier Presse Papier, are located in an old wooden building that leans like a ship, rolling downhill towards the St Laurent River. It’s run by a cooperative of artist printmakers who are both colleagues and friends. On one of the last days of my residency they held a lunch for me, complete with home-cooked Quebecois beans with maple syrup and some nice red wine.


Seventh Sense is on until 30 July 2017 at Atelier Presse Papier, 73, rue Saint-Antoine, Trois-Rivières, QC, G9A 2J2. Tel 819-373-1980. Email


My work for BIECTR is in Musee Pierre Boucher in Trois-Rivières until 10 September

IMG_6399Also, one print is showing at Atelier-Galerie A. Piroir in Montreal until 5th August.

BIECTR runs until 10 September 2017. It’s full of amazing work. For more information, or to buy the catalogue, please see or contact




Normally I don’t write about the studio where I make most of my work, but I should. It’s been my favourite place to retreat to and ponder on life, and allows my prints to develop and grow of their own accord. This year I have had the privilege to be the chair of this organisation, East London Printmakers, which is a group of around 200 artists (and 40 keyholders) who all love making prints. The studio has been based in Hackney for over 14 years, a grimy part of London (remember those riots in 2011? they happened outside our front door) until it became a hip, bespoke playground for the rich and bored. And inevitably, the rents shot up and we were forced to think about moving, or folding. So we moved.

elp-studio-warmer_eeeMoving house is like throwing everything up in the air and then trying to relax when you can’t find it any more because it landed somewhere unexpected. Anyway we’ve done it. Thousands, literally thousands of hours of plotting, planning, constructing, sanding, polishing, painting, packing, moving, organising happened. Mainly all of it was done by members and studio keyholders for free… Of course the presses were moved professionally by the very excellent Giles of AMR and Mike Kirby of Linecasting Machinery, and new walls and floor and heating and lighting had to be installed as well… And the new landlords, Acme studios, have been incredibly welcoming: contributing practically and financially to helping us move in.


East London Printmakers is now based in a beautiful studio (42 Copperfield Road) sandwiched between the canal and the park, close to Mile End station. We reopened 1st October and are planning a party on 22nd October. This is a studio warming party, to invite people over to come see us, and find out more about printmaking, to thank everyone who has supported us, and to invite continued support for the future.

img_5441The press release is below. Please come!!


PS> One of the rewards will be this print in pink, or the one above in blue, which you can come and print yourself and take away for a fiver!! If you can’t make it, let me know and I’ll save one for you… elp-studio-warmer_pink_e

I’ve just come back from a March printmaking bonanza! Firstly, New York and the Metropolitan Art Museum, and then the Southern Graphics Conference in Tennessee. Here are some of the things I saw…

IMG_8824_eAt New York’s Center for Book Arts, I enjoyed John Jacobsmeyer’s show More Than Human, a sequence of over 80 wood engravings all cut from cross-sections of the same 40-year-old maple tree, representing an American Sign Language interpretation of the soliloquy in James Dickey’s poem Sheep Child.


Noah Breuer and I then went to NYU to teach printmaking. Here are some of the students looking at my books.

IMG_8828_eAt the NY Metropolitan Art Museum print department I had a look at the anamorphic prints in their collection as research for my talk on Distortion.

IMG_8921_eI was completely stunned by this etching by Kathe Kollwitz and some small Posada prints which were there.IMG_8908_eKnoxville is located in Tennessee close to the Great Smoky Mountains; Dolly Wood, home of Dolly Parton; a building called the Sunsphere (that looks like a tomoato on a stick); and the University of Tennessee. I stayed in downtown Gay Street in a loft in the iconic Sterchi Apartment block, with the most amazing view.


Printmaking madness was already obvious on the campus, with Crystal Wagner’s huge installation of prints that looked like a cascading dragon stretching over three floors and entering the gallery space itself.

IMG_9019_eThe print department was really spacious and boasted the largest (reportedly) American French Tool press in the USA, along with a wide array of printing stations ranging from litho at one end to screenprint and the other.


I admired the beautiful prints by Karen Kunc and Tracy Templeton, who had visited the department.

IMG_9111_e IMG_9675_e

Off site shows were rich and varied, sadly I forgot to take photos of many favourites. However, here are a few good uns: local Yee Haw industries letterpress posters which were full of colour and wit…



Happy printers from Drive by Press located in Striped Light letterpress studio giving a popular demo of T shirt printing…IMG_9249_eMiguel Aragon’s sobering series of victims of the Mexican border wars (drug cartels struggling for supremacy): laser-cut burnt residue embossed prints based on newspaper photographs….


Wroclaw school of art graduate Agatha Gertchen’s incredible linocuts…IMG_9161_e_agathagertchen

And fellow Wroclaw printmaker Zuzanna Dyrda’s witty print intervention on the occasion of her mum’s marriage…IMG_9167_e_zuzannadyrda

Art Werger’s multiplate mezzzotint colour trial proofs… (honestly mad)IMG_9301_werger_e

IMG_9290_eUniversity of Tennessee graduate Jade Hoyer’s lithographic print installation…IMG_9220_e_jadehoyer

Select Serigraphics poster designs, combining retro elegance with op art and current bands…IMG_9237_e_selectserigraphics

Norwegian Tom Stian Kosmo’s mezzotint Surrender…IMG_9172_e_tomstiankosmo

Ericka Walker’s vintage style aphorisms…IMG_9333_e_erickawalker

Hannah Skoonberg’s delicate landscapes…IMG_9340_e_hannahskoonberg

Lauren Kussro’s mad seascape installation…IMG_9351_laurenkussro IMG_9350_laurenkussro

Emily Minnie’s printed wallpaper…IMG_9358_emilyminnie Liz Klimek’s printed and folded houses…IMG_9356_lizklimek

Intense subject matter and beautiful prints were paired with generous helpings of food at the private views… (We may be artists but we shall not starve!)


In town, I also saw a few random print events such as this striped tent with painted beer cans…

IMG_9225_eLetterpress studio The Happy Envelope…


Tatiana Potts wall installation…IMG_9085_e_tatianapotts

Interesting demos including electronic circuits…


Brian Gonzales of Illegitimate Press, North Carolina showing off his thermographic ink printsIMG_9438_e_thermochromic

Apart from the displays of work, of which I’ve only photographed a small portion, there were some great talks. Sarah Suzuki of MOMA in NY gave a really lucid talk on the burring of lines between the printed useful object and the printed fine art singular object: illustrating her talk with artists such as Tabaimo who uses the printed aesthetic of Ukiyo-e as an essential flavour to her digitally scanned animations; Gert and Uwe Tobias, whose monumental jigsawed prints are unique rather than multiplied; Ellen Gallagher whose layouts were scanned, printed, scratched, added to painted on and reverted to sculptural form again; Daido Moriyama whose book Printing Show 2011 consists of a selection of digital images that viewers are able to sequence order and print themselves; Qiu Anxiong whose beautiful woodcuts show modern stealth bombers and genetically modified creatures.

Another favourite was Amze Emmon’s talk on print in the built environment, how we are surrounded by buildings which have hoardings, some of which describe the contents, some of which describe what will be there in future, and some of which, particularly in China, which have pictures of photoshopped idyllic landscapes far removed from the migrant worker housing that they shield.

IMG_4090_SGCI_eMy involvement in the lecture programme was on Friday 20th March when the panel I had coordinated gave their talks on the topic of Distortion. Noah Breuer and Julia Lillie talked about distorted materiality, in the mimicking of other techniques such as watercolour, engraving, stains and blood in printed format. John Jacobsmeyer talked about renaissance perspectival striving for an elusive truth, and how this delineates subject from object, which is confounded in contemporary approaches. I gave a survey on the topic of distortion, with our desire to see things and faces where there are none, tricks and marvels of machinery, and what happens when machines contribute a distorted view of the world. Erik Brunvand talked about sonic distortion and how to print with conductive ink to create speakers which were activated through electromagnetic signals. It was fascinating for me to hear what the others have been researching.

We jumped around afterwards making distorted poses to celebrate!!IMG_4097_SGCI_e

I came to the realisation that the unending forest would be ever spookier if the trees mirrored each other. One minute you would think you’d know where you were going, the next you’d be passing by a world which you’d seen before, but in reverse…

Here are some shots of the printing process of these big prints. Because of the scale, I had to divide the image in four and screenprint them one  quarter at a time on the fabric bed, as the largest screen bed wasn’t large enough…





I’ve been printing these in East London Printmakers for my show in Wales that opens in 3 days time!!!


Went for a well deserved swim after all that work. I think I’m building up my shoulder muscles!

The SGCI conference in New Orleans was a right bonanza.

Imagine over 1500 printmakers all partying in a town famous for its hedonism, fried food and jazz. Seriously, there are naked lap-dancers in the bars in the middle of the day!

It was amazing. The town is set on the banks of the Mississippi, a steamy grey thing.

Buildings are graceful and crumbling, and palm trees and huge spreading live oaks line the avenues, which still retain their French names.

Highlights for me were numerous. Willie Cole opened the conference with a keynote speech about his artistic practice which involves a method of mark making with a hot iron which he calls scorching, which in effect is a type of printed mark. His work was beautiful and playful, taking photographs of irons and making them into mask like faces, or using the ironed marks to make huge figure composites.

There was a great exhibition of prints by David Dreisbach, who was awarded the printmaker emeritus prize by the Southern Graphics council this year, in the Contemporary Arts Center.

I marveled at his narrative and compositional strength, all while tucking into perhaps the most delicious spread of food ever seen at a private view before. Appreciating art must be hungry work, seeing how much they’d laid out.

There were inspiring, ambitious and fantastic demonstrations especially the rubber stamp one by Sukha Worob who showed us how he cuts into foam board with a router set to 1/4″ depth and then fills the mould with a solution of silicone rubber composite called “Mold Max”

and some great silkscreen prints printed by Ernest Milsted with wallpaper paste and water soluble dyes in place of the traditional acrylics and medium, producing lovely prints all at a fraction of the cost.

There were some very impressive satellite events. I particularly liked Dirk Hagen’s broadside text speak haikus which he’d printed on letterpress and cardboard.

A lovely show of prints about New Orleans and the floods in the hippily named Healing Centre.

A nice set of prints in various portfolios were displayed in the hotel conference venue on grey pinboards and rotated daily; some of these were delicate and beautiful.

Also Midwest Pressed had a great show of silkscreen monoprints which were installed as a huge panel of floating heads of famous figures, skulls or Chewbacca.

This is my friend Brian Lane, from Seattle, who looks  a bit like Chewie.

Most notable for me was the Carnival of Ink set in an old ironworks factory to the east of the main town. This was a riot of printmaking activity.

Drive-by-press  printed T-shirts with skateboards (just inked up and jammed through the press with a foam blanket).

The main event was run by Wolfbat Press, and involved hundreds of artists who spent the week of the conference decorating box cars with collaged prints which were paraded them through the town on St Patrick’s day before setting them on fire.

Several studios ran various fun fair style games such as “Wrassle a printmaker and win a print for a dollar” which had me in fits of laughter.

I presented a paper on movement in print in the International panel which got some good feedback, if you would like to read the article then please go this page here,

then showed the animations Shift and Lucid Mask, along with a selection of prints at the open portfolio session,

which was a great time to meet other printmakers whose work I admire

Like Ben Moreau’s gorgeous etchings

Some print genius Marcus Benavides

Michael Barnes

Mark Bovey

And oh so many more…!

I promised myself I would never again venture up north in February, but found myself in Liverpool, Preston and Manchester this week, and loved it!

First stop was Liverpool, with its shabby buildings conveying a sense of elegant (or otherwise) decay.


I stopped off at the wonderful Bluecoat where there was a very arresting show by Gina Czarnecki. Her work is about the human body moving in space, and I found her video work very inspiring. The portrayal of frenzied and slow motion arabesquing movement is really beautiful.  I also loved the castle made of clear resin, much like spun glass, which is due to be encrusted with thousands of donated milk teeth in the four years to come. I wish I had retained my extracted wisdom tooth from a couple of weeks ago to add to the project!

There was another whimsical show called Republic of the Moon in FACT which was a great combination of sound, smell, installation and imagery. I particularly liked the “Moon Goose Analogue” by Agnes Meyer-Brandis, who has taken geese hatched and raised as if future super star astronauts. These cute fluffy things have been named patriotic space age names such as Boris and Svetlana, and spend their days wandering around happily in a lunar landscape space station in Italy, with a live feed to Liverpool.

Next stop was the University of Lancashire in Preston. It was surprisingly mild. I checked out the largest brutalist bus station in Europe and then the Harris museum.

There was  nice print show about walking the land, with multilayered boggy coloured meshes of paper installed in a quivering column above the central stairwell, by Tracy Hill, my host.

I toured the print department and had instant print studio envy when looking at their beautiful Columbian press. They have a very spacious department run by Pete Clarke and Tracy Hill pictured here.

I gave a talk on my work to local artists and students as part of their Art Lab talking Prints series, and showed them some of the latest video work.

For a nice review of what I talked about, please see the link here

Afterwards I laid out a selection of prints from the past 12 years for them to view.

On my return trip I went via Manchester. It was rain rain rain, so a good opportunity to lurk around inside some great galleries, like the Portico Library where i saw a show on Victoriana, taxidermy and penny dreadfuls, and the Manchester Museum of Art. Ken Currie’s huge dystopian cityscape and Antony Gormley’s flying man were my favourite pieces in the Museum, alongside Grayson Perry’s ironic map of society (and technically brilliant etching) “Print for a Politician”.

Finally, I attended a private view in the Chinese Art Centre: Chen Man, a young photographer from China. Strangely enough, no-one mentions that she is also very proficient in Photoshop. Her images of women are stylized, glamorous, objectifying and sexual. The show is lavish! Fantasy female faces with luscious lips are printed larger than a metre high, and the imagery is appealing, commercial and desirable. (Shu Uemura sponsored the opening event with make up remover)… I liked seeing a successful female artist in such a solo show, but couldn’t decide if the vision presented was empowering or degrading to women.


Click on the picture above to go to youtube video of Costanza with music by Mordant Music… Costanza’s feet resemble fluttering moths batting against a pane of light.

The beginning of January was the last chance to see the Big Ass Linocut show in London: where megalomaniac linocut makers gathered at the High Roller Society to show off their huge linocut skills. My prints Shadow Dance Together and Shadow Dance Apart were shown there, along with the animation Lucid Mask.

The show is going to evolve and expand when it moves to its next location, Hemingway Art in Oxfordshire in April this year.

Next up, I’m excited to be involved in the 6th International Artist Book Triennial which opens in Venice on the 3rd February. The theme this year is Love, and three of my books have been selected: Devour (the girl who loves and devours a beast); Embrace (the book where the man and the woman are divided by the folds of the book so that they may not be viewed at the same time together); and Bamboo Dream (where a couple are dreaming of each other on accordion folded sheets that interleave as the book folds together).

For more information please see their website here

Finally, it is full speed ahead for making the final frames for the animation. Actually I started animating the dress, then realised I needed more in between frames, so here I am back in the studio printing away still.

I’m venturing back up north again on the 8th February as a guest of the University of Lancashire Talking Prints program. I’ll be talking about this latest work … Should be interesting, though I’ve not booked to stay long as I had such a cold time in Yorkshire last year…

I made my first trip to Australia last month to attend the IMPACT printmaking conference in Melbourne. It was a four day bonanza of print related fun, and there were lots of inspiring people, places, exhibitions and lectures.

It was well attended event with many people from all over the world as well as within Australia itself. There were at least 25 students from Adelaide,  printmakers from the Torres Strait islands, Indonesia, Brazil, Iran, the US, amongst others, and a good handful of UK representatives including Sarah Bodman and John Purcell!

I enjoyed seeing various print studios in Australia, especially the fantastic facilities in VCA (Victoria College of the Arts), whose facilities include an electric albion press that looks like a one armed bandit crossed with a flower press

APW (Australian Print workshop), who have a suspiciously clean workshop, does anyone actually ever spread ink around in there?

Megalo print studio in Canberra where I taught a workshop (felt like home from home, with a friendly vibe and the biggest fabric bed in Eastern Australia)but at the same time the most cute handmade vacuum table I have ever seen too…

The big print study room at the National Gallery Canberra where we spent a happy few hours looking at Rauchenbergs and Stellas up close, courtesy of the Ken Tyler bequest

ANU (Australian National University), with a vast printmaking unit that would fit in the whole of East London Printmakers in one corner of their etching roomwith some terrifying signs on the walls

and some funny signs up on the walls

and a small printmaking studio in Araluen cultural institute in the desert, that even had a steamer and facilities for discharge printing, though everything seemed very unused.

The lectures at IMPACT were a bit patchy to be honest. I was shocked at the poor quality of the skype presentations and the pHD students who mumbled their thesises to themselves with lack of conviction. There were also many talks that really didn’t have much practical content, which was surprising considering the practical nature of the subject, or talks which spent a very long time saying very little (or am I just an untrained sceptic? Too many of the keywords “materiality” or “Derrida” were used for my liking!)

However, I really enjoyed the talk on Mike Parr by John Loane, a long term collaborative printmaker, who was very eloquent on his creative process. Other highlights were lectures on book arts, especially one on how dance may be incorporated into books by Jude Walton (“The proprioception of a book”) and one on book alterations by Inge Hanover (a lady who searches secondhand book stores for books which have been dedicated to others, or marked with tears, coffee and doodles).

There was the usual raft of talks on digital technology (“printmakers are scavengers of technology originally developed for other purposes”) and on Thai and Indonesian printmakers Prawat and Heri Dono.

The exhibitions were also varied. Some names just came up again and again, both in the university shows and in the city wide satellite shows, and I wanted to see more variety. For example, Angela Cavalieri makes large linocuts of text in Italian, carved in a chunky repetitive fashion. They are distinctive prints, but very illustrative. It was impressive that her work was present in 7 different venues but gave me the impression there was a lack of diversity in the choice of artwork.

I enjoyed seeing some of the Australian and Aboriginal artworks, and would have loved to see more local work from the Pacific region as well as south east Asia.

There was a fantastic demonstration of paste printing by Chika Ito who showed how she makes ink with boiled up rice flour and various organic natural dyes including strong tea! With these pastes she makes beautiful translucent silkscreen prints which are colour fast and very natural and non toxic.

In Melbourne itself, Robert Heather showed me around the National Library of Victoria which had a book art show on the first floor, as well as a stunning collection of printed maps and books from their archives, particularly of the natural flora and fauna drawn by European artists when they first colonised the country. We also visited the RMIT satellite shows including a box set exhibition exchange organised by Melanie Yazzie, called Fold, which was fantastic, and a lovely show of prints by Tate Adams, the artist who established the print programme in RMIT in the 60s (?), whose bold black and white prints are dynamic and graphic.

It was nice to meet lots of friendly printmakers from the UK as well as NZ, Canada and the States as well as the local crowd (especially the huge numbers from Adelaide) at the conference. Below from left to right are Glynnis and Jacqueline from Darwin Northern Editions (collaborative printmakers both) and Ann Cunningham from Melbourne who kindly had me stay at her house during the conference

Finally, one of my highlights was the chance to show my latest series of dancing dress prints that are going to make up an animation, and display my artist’s books to the conference attendees. I got a lot of positive feedback and interest, and it made my month!

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